Friday, September 29, 2006

I Have Better Things to Do

Poker has taken on a stale, meaningless place in my life. I just don't have "it" anymore. If I ever did, that is.

I was never that great of a player (don't listen to Ted, he likes to compliment me just to be nice). I was a survivor. A break-even type player. I was crafty and sly. I could trap and fish. I used my strengths and managed to overcome huge weaknesses in order to get by. I had a fantastic memory and succeeded in Stud games. I had no temper when it came to bad beats and could continue to play well after many of them. I could select games wisely and to my advantage.

In Omaha I learned how to skate by. I learned that I could play with a decreased IQ and still win. I didn't have to have a great memory, I didn't have to know where I was in a hand. I didn't have to do much of anything save sitting in my chair and letting morons bet and raise into me when I held the nuts one way or the other. Sure, sometimes I would be quartered or worse, but the times I three-quartered someone else, or scooped, more than made up for those times I myself was chopped up, because of extreme patience, so I made a little scratch. I was never a "great" player, nor did I claim to be.

Things aren't getting better. They are getting worse. I simply don't have it. I don't have the skill, the memory or the desire anymore. I felt that this might be the case when I went on my run at Riverside. I knew that playing there everyday was a test of sorts. I would either sink or swim, and I would either love poker more than I ever have, or hate it.

Oddly, the love or hate thing didn't really happen. More like apathy. But I did realize that I can't swim. I sunk, and for whatever reason, this doesn't even bother me much. Maybe because I had become so apathetic towards poker and the crazy HE boom that has happened in the past three years. I'd come to despise the boom, and longed for the days when I could sit down with six old-timers in a middle limit Stud game and one, young, green newbie. The days when I relaxed and laughed while playing poker. The days when the dealers knew everyone at the table, and made a real effort to get to know the newbie, too.

Sure, those days were horrible, as well. Tons of dealer abuse which I could never tolerate. Gender abuse towards me somewhat. Overraking of pots. Fixed jackpots and staff who had to "pay" to work. I haven't turned a blind eye towards those days or the Bonetti's of the world. I certainly wouldn't have played pre-2000, the poker rooms were a mess.

But I long for the "love" of the game that I had. The love of the rhythm and flow of Stud. The knowledge that I was the best player at the table. The memory of every exposed card and suit, every hand.

Being blind is no cakewalk. I suddenly lose huge chunks of memory. It's simply gone. I thought it would come back, and it has, to an extent, but it waxes and wanes. People approach me about hands or situations that have just occurred (within the past six months) and I have absolutely no memory of the time, place or event.

It's like I'm floating in outer space. I say and do things that I can't remember later.

Ooooh, how I wish I had been like so many others (Shirley, Glenn's sister) who didn't struggle through chemo at all, felt like it was a "low grade flu" for a day or two, and then bounced right back. Everyone is different, I know, but even a year later, here I am, stuck in some kind of fog at times (it is soooooo much better, I know, but I still have huge chunks of missing history).

I just don't want to be "that guy," who sucks, but is playing along on his reputation of being a good player. I don't want to coast anymore. I don't want to try to get better, either.

I'm not resigning or retiring from poker (no matter how many times I say this, I still get a ton of e-mail, IM's and calls claiming I said I was quitting. Even Glenn misread my post about the Riverside and how I was going to cut down my play there, to read that I was "quitting poker; never to return"), how odd.

No threats, no promises, no swan songs. I'm not quitting. I'm a silver star now at Stars, and will continue to play for the bonuses, the points and to "break even." I can sit at a microlimit O8 game and coast. I give Glenn the freeroll entries. I am saving up to buy Glenn an Ipod. I've turned into all of those microlimit kids who are just starting out playing poker, or playing it for recreational only purposes. Go ahead and do your PTO on me. I'm a rock and I play a nut peddling game. Never claimed otherwise :)

So here I am, four years later and playing smaller, more meaningless limits than where I first started, my very first casino poker hand. And you know what? I don't really mind it.

Felicia :)
Online Poker Stats:

1/2 O8; .50/1 O8; 2/4 O8; .50/1 HORSE
=-30 Net winnings for Thursday, September 28, 2006

(Total saved for new car pre-August 15 $2500. Current total $2105)